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Ethel Vance's name will carry this rather slight novel into higher sales brackets than it would have achieved otherwise. It is good reading -- but leaves no sense of satisfaction, merely an appreciation of good craftsmanship in handling a somewhat difficult theme. It is the story of ""L' affaire Grieve"" as Stacy, who made a business of the social gesture, termed it, as he pondered its inconsistencies and preened himself a bit on being responsible for initiating it. To be sure, when he invited Susan, he asked her as a partner for himself, observer at the aics of youth in the form of a returned hero, ""Slick"" Novak, and his lovely secretary, Peggy . But Fate took a hand, and it was Susan that Novak chose -- and from one unpredictable night, ""L'affaire"" led to the seclusion of the Grieve homestead near New London --and to heartbreak for Susan, who cloaked it well, on her return, with gay new feathers. So far -- nothing off the beam. The unusual aspects of the matter lay in Novak's reason for withdrawal -- a reason Susan accepted at the end with a renunciatory gesture, for she had little understanding and no sympathy for Novak's confession of a calling which she thought a second death -- the life of a priest of a church she instinctively shunned.... The market for the book must be keyed to some extent on two obstacles -- ultraconservatives may object to the moral aspects (cautiously handled though they are) -- while some Catholics may resent the evident intolerance, and the insinuations against a man destined for the priesthood.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1945
Publisher: Little, Brown